Great Movies To Watch

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10 Great Movies To Watch When You Need Inspiration

While there are many films which are made just for entertainment reasons, it is nice when you can get something more from a film than a few thrills and laughs. Movies have the power to change people’s minds, to make them work harder for their dreams, to give them hope, to broaden their horizons and to inspire them.

Coincidentally or not, most of the films on this list are based on real-life stories or are even documentaries. Watching an inspiring film and knowing that what you saw is (at least partially) real can be much more effective than one which turns out to be all fictive, but this is not always the case, and the third film on this list is the perfect proof.

Inspiration comes in different forms and each person might be inspired by totally different things so we tried to avoid selecting too many films in the same vein. Tell us in the comments what other movies do you recommend watching when you need inspiration.

 

1. 20,000 Days On Earth (2014)

Inspires: Creativity

20,000 Days on Earth

For over 40 years, Nick Cave has been one of the most intriguing, influential and inspiring figures in rock music. With his long-lasting band Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, he has released a vast number of records which changed the music scene of the past century. To this day, Cave continues to be one of the best songwriters/lyricists alive, always reinventing himself with each new album he produces and captivating new generations of fans with his enigmatic persona and poetic music.

Depicting a semi-fictional day in Nick Cave’s life – to be more precise his 20,000th day on Earth – this documentary/concert follows Cave through his Brighton hometown, his relationship with his family, his discussions with fellow music-partners, his work on his fifteenth studio album and his therapy sessions where he recalls memories of his past.

While this film will be best watched by those creative minds who are looking for inspiration and can’t find their muses, Nick Cave’s charming personality and his colourful conversations might turn out inspiring for the less creatively inclined viewers.

 

2. The Walk (2015)

Inspires: Achieving the impossible

The Walk

French high-wire artist Philippe Petit became famous for his 1971 high-wire walk between the towers of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and for his 1974 Manhattan performance when, at only 24-years-old, made eight passes along a wire between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and, for 45 minutes, walked, saluted his watchers and danced at a quarter mile above the ground.

With remarkable visuals and special effects, suspense enough to give you sweaty palms and a great central performance from Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Robert Zemeckis’ “The Walk” is an inspiring movie about a man with an impossible dream and his journey of perseverance and hard work which turns the dream into reality.

 

3. Whiplash (2014)

Inspires: Pushing your own limits

One of the most inspiring movies of this decade, “Whiplash” follows the tense relationship between Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller), a talented young jazz drummer from New York, and Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), his overly pretentious teacher who manages to get the best out of his students by pushing them to their limits – physically and psychologically.

From beginning to end, “Whiplash” is a very entertaining movie which will motivate you like no other – even if you’re not a musician. Damien Chazelle’s brilliant direction, the two amazing performances from Simmons (who won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for this performance) and Teller, and last but not least, the beautiful jazz music that fills most of the film make “Whiplash” a memorable experience.

 

4. Faces Places (2017)

Inspires: Celebrating those around you

Faces Places

The late French New Wave pioneer Agnès Varda was supposed to retire after her 2008 film “The Beaches of Agnès.” However, she made a triumphant return in 2017, when her Academy Award-nominated documentary “Faces Places” was released.

“Faces Places” follows Varda and French photographer JR as they travel through France’s villages and decorate building exteriors, walls or containers with huge stickable portraits of the people they come across.

If you are looking for an inspirational, feel-good film with a touch of melancholy, you might want to watch this one. Agnes and JR’s road trip is filled with insightful conversations and funny moments. Despite the 50-year age gap between the two of them, they share a similar artistic vision. The art they create during their journey is stunning, inspirational and a real ode to humanity.

 

5. Searching For Sugar Man (2012)

Inspires: Hope

Searching for Sugar Man

This Academy Award winning documentary tells the incredible story of Sixto Rodriguez, an American musician who had a short-lived career in the United States in the 1970s and whose music became a cultural phenomenon in South Africa, where he was more popular than the likes of Elvis Presley.

However, until 1997, when his daughter discovered a South African website dedicated to him, Rodriguez was unaware of his overseas success and most of his fans also knew little about him, the rumour being that he had killed himself during the 1970s.

“Searching For Sugar Man” is a fascinating film which will give anyone hope that dreams can come true in the most unexpected ways, but at the same time will make you wonder how many other “Sugar Men” are out there, undiscovered and probably forever lost.

10 Great Movies To Watch When You Want Something Warm

Sometimes, life can just plain suck. It can seem like the whole wide world has conspired to make you feel like you don’t matter. Feeling like the recipient of a thousand cold shoulders, you stagger back to your place feeling alone and forgotten. What to do?

You can call up your mom or a friend or snuggle up on the couch with your significant other. Yes, those are all good suggestions.

Or you can do all of those things and then watch one of these 10 movies. Each one of them is guaranteed to warm you right back up.

 

1. It’s a Wonderful Life (Frank Capra, 1946)

Its-A-Wonderful-Life

The cinematic equivalent of a home cooked meal, this simple, near perfect tale of kindness given and kindness received will comfort anyone longing for a reminder of just how good people can be to one another.

Bedford Falls’ greatest son, George Bailey – played to perfection by the legendary Jimmy Stewart – is in a dark bit of trouble and it takes the help of a 2nd class Angel named Clarence to make him see his way to the light.

Flip through the channels anytime in December and you are bound to see one or more of them showing this Christmas time classic. That makes perfect sense. Not only does the movie take place around Christmas time, but it is actually based on a short story that its writer – Philip Van Doren Stern – had printed up in Christmas cards and distributed to his friends and family.

An emotional tour-de-force, legendary director Frank Capra and a perfectly cast collection of actors wring every last tear out of you and then some.

A two hour long hug. A life affirming lullaby for the wounded child in all of us. An antidote for the cold. All that and more.

 

2. Smoke (Wayne Wang, 1995)

SMOKE

To connect or not connect – that is the question in this beautiful little film written by Jersey born writer, Paul Auster.

A collection of loosely linked stories and loosely and not so loosely linked characters, this moving tale is made up of both the realistic and the whimsical. Some stories are of the everyday variety, while others deftly step into more fanciful and poetic territory without losing their emotional resonance.

Moments of real beauty appear out of nowhere. It’s that kind of film.

In one of the stories, Harvey Keitel plays Auggie Wren, the owner of a cigar shop. William Hurt plays Paul Benjamin – a writer and one of his customers. One night, they make a connection that goes well beyond their shop owner-customer relationship. It is, at once, simple yet profound. The pacing of the scene, the acting, the images and all the pretty words combine to create a moment of genuine tenderness. How often do two men get to share a moment like that in a movie?

Harold Perrineau Jr. plays Rashid Cole, a lost young man who connects to Auggie through Paul, when he saves Paul’s life. The two become friends and, later, Paul sees an opportunity to pay back his debt to Rashid.

Characters come into the lives of each other and choose to stick around long enough to make a difference.

The final story, related to Paul by Auggie, himself, tops them all. It’s got magic, surprise and yes, a bushel full of warmth.

Most movies are a long stretch of dry dirt. This one is a flower garden.

 

3. Etre et Avoir (Nicolas Philibert, 2002)

Etre et Avoir

Two turtles slowly waddle across the spotless floor of an empty school room. For a documentary taking place in a small town – in rural France and mostly confined to the inside of a classroom in a one room schoolhouse – that opening image is a perfect example of form and content merging into one.

Overseeing a classroom of children, ranging in age from 4 to 11, can’t be easy, and yet, Mr. Lopez makes it look like a breeze.

Whether gently reminding a younger student that school work must be finished before one can play or bringing two older students, who just fought, to a place of empathy and understanding, Mr. Lopez is the teacher of your dreams.

The kids are adorable. Kids pretty much get that label automatically – we adults are not so lucky. And, here, in the midst of writing and arithmetic and crepe making lessons, these kids – Jojo, Marie, Letitia and the rest of the tiny pupils – never fail to tug at your heart.

What Philibert captures here is not only the beauty inherent in a quiet and unhurried life in a picturesque town in rural France, but the beauty inherent in a qualified and courteous adult patiently and carefully imparting knowledge to a child. Lessons made up of numbers and letters and lessons made up of emotions and actions all mingle together in Mr. Lopez’s classroom.

Many of the outdoor scenes in Etre et Avoir take place during the winter. The kids are shown in brief bits all bundled up against the cold carrying on in the playground or tobogganing. Inside the schoolhouse, it’s warm. It’s warm because of the four thick walls and because of a man determined to make it so.

Etre et Avoir is a warm blanket of a movie for those days when the cold has gotten to you.

 

4. The Straight Story (David Lynch, 1999)

The Straight Story

The wizard of weird. The sorcerer of strange. The conjurer of kooky? Any one of those titles could be applied to the David Lynch most people think of when they think of David Lynch. But, he has another side that, if not equally odd, is certainly equally compelling.

Incredibly, based on a true story, Richard Farnsworth plays Alvin Straight, a simple man of 73, who has just heard that his brother, Lyle, has suffered a stroke. The two had a falling out some years back and Alvin wants to go visit him to make things right before it’s too late. Problem is, Alvin doesn’t have a driver’s license and his eyes are bad, anyway. Plus, there is no bus that runs from his small town of Laurens to his brother’s place in Mt. Zion – across the border into Wisconsin. But, Alvin does have a riding lawn mower.

Embarking on the 260 mile trip to Wisconsin, Alvin tows a small trailer of supplies – slow and steady – down cornfield flanked rural highways on a 1966 John Deere riding mower. His friends think he has lost his way. But, Alvin knows he has just found it.

A man needs a mission and, though Alvin’s mode of completing that mission is an odd one, that doesn’t make it any less meaningful. Actually, as it turns out, it makes it more meaningful.

Along the way, Alvin camps out under the stars, eats a lot of German sausage and runs into folks here and there.

The writing is exquisite, here. There’s a careful attention paid to the natural rhythms of speech and a real skillful and sensitive navigating around how conversations flow along with thoughts expressed both explicitly and implicitly. The poetry of simple words delivered with care and just the right amount of weight, homespun bits of wisdom and well placed moments of silence are all artfully woven into the exchanges throughout the film.

Farnsworth is wonderfully relaxed – each word out of his mouth carved in oak and soaked in a whiskey of well earned wisdom.

Lynch let’s it all breath. He trusts that the material and the actors will suffice and they do. They do in ways that are delightful and surprising and deeply moving.

Like watching the sunset over the distant hills. You can almost feel the warmth coming off of the screen.

All wheat and no chaff.

 

5. Danny Collins (Dan Fogelman, 2015)

Pacino! ‘Nuff said.

Neil Diamond must have been on the mind of writer/director Dan Fogleman when he took a very true story and bent it slightly out of shape to tell the tale of a bored and fabulously wealthy 60-something pop singer, Danny Collins, and his attempts to change his ways and make amends.

In the midst of the delicious ruins of big birthday bash that has pretty much seen its’ last snort and drink, Danny’s agent, played by Christopher Pummer, presents his weary and worn out client with an extra special gift – a just recently secured, lost letter that John Lennon wrote the then very green young singer some 40 years ago.

Stunned and inspired, Collins dumps his very young girlfriend, abandons his mansion and checks into a Hilton near Hillsdale, NJ.

From there, the well tanned and outfitted Collins tries to write some serious songs for a change and, most importantly, tries to establish a relationship with a now adult son who has never had him in his life.

Everyone is terrific – especially Pacino. In playing a man who is sick of himself and, yet, so full of life, so hopeful so late in life, and, so clearly in love with people, Pacino handles all the straightaways and tricky turns of his character with ease while still managing to keep his grip on the steering wheel real loose while doing it.

It’s the story of a man who has repeatedly reached the top of the charts and, yet, has still failed to crack the top 200 in what really counts in life.

A real overlooked gem. A sweet whisper of a film. A wool sweater of a story that you slip on when the temperature takes a dip.

10 Great Movies To Watch When You Feel Lonely

Lost in Translation

Not to open the list on too much of a sour note, but loneliness is just something that we all encounter from time to time. Whether it be separation from those we love, a feeling of not fitting in, or just a general feeling, loneliness can be one of the tougher emotions to be comfortable feeling, however, as with any emotion, the movies are always there to help us come to terms with these feelings, whether it be by showing us characters who feel the same way or by presenting something that simply manages to take the feeling away. Here are ten great films you can watch when you’re next feeling lonely, at least one of them are bound to help!

 

1. Lost In Translation (Sofia Coppola, 2003)

Maybe the most obvious choice of all of these for a film that is good to watch when lonely (right next to Jonze’s Her), Lost In Translation may be a massively predictable entry, but it has earned that reputation for good reason, being one of the best portrayals of the loneliness that can infect people even when they are surrounded by others.

Chronicling the intimate friendship created between Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson whilst they’re in Tokyo, leading up to some of the most gently touching moments in twenty first century cinema and then one of the most infamously agonising enigmatic endings ever put to screen, Lost In Translation is a stripped back and simplistic film that doesn’t seem concerned about much other than supplying the emotion and the intimacy between the characters.

The chemistry between the two leads is second to none, starting off strong and ending at the point where it feels as though the characters are as genuine as they could possibly be, making for one of the more touching films about loneliness made recently. Interestingly, Sofia Coppola would go on to make another film on the subject of loneliness despite fame in Somewhere, arguably a better film, though this one is much easier to recommend to just about anybody.

 

2. Children of Heaven (Majid Majidi, 1997)

Children of Heaven

Iranian cinema is hard to come by, but almost always more than worth the time investment. Majid Majidi’s gorgeous Children of Heaven is no exception. To keep it frank, this is one of the most beautiful movies ever made, following a brother’s quest to help his sister after he loses her shoes.

Though it definitely isn’t always completely peachy, with some surprisingly harsh scenes spread throughout, the positive energy more than outweighs the bad here, especially in the observation of the bond that comes from family and the beautiful childlike innocence from the children in the film.

The use of colour is also magical, and so welcoming, with the vibrancy working as a way to see the world from the perspective of the characters in such a simple yet intimate and effective way. The ending is one of the best of all time, simultaneously overwhelmingly charming and brilliantly frustrating/upsetting.

 

3. My Neighbor Totoro (Hayao Miyazaki, 1988)

My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

A Ghibli film was bound to show up on here somewhere, and why not make it one of their most popular, and one of their most charming films? It’s difficult to try to capture the incredible charm that My Neighbour Totoro has, it’s stunning how quickly the beauty manages to creep up on the unassuming audience, largely thanks to Miyazaki’s gorgeous animation and creativity.

Miyazaki has said many times that he tries to make his films charming to try to remind children that life is always worth living for the little things, and sometimes that’s exactly the kind of message that people need to be reminded of.

Many of the different Ghibli titles could be in its place, but My Neighbor Totoro will always hold a special place in the hearts of many, and came to mind before literally any other film when thinking of what to include here, so it had to have the spot in the end.

 

4. Good Will Hunting (Gus Van Sant, 1997)

Good Will Hunting (1997)

A trigger warning is necessary here considering that some of the content in Van Sant’s Good Will Hunting is quite difficult to sit through, and the fact that it stars Robin Williams admittedly doesn’t help at times (though he is just excellent here, maybe his heartiest performance, though it’s hard to say with there being so many), but Good Will Hunting is one of the better films about overcoming past struggle.

Whilst it is quite cheesy at a few points, the leading performances by Matt Damon and Robin Williams are just incredible, and the film feels more than sincere in the statement that it is trying to make.

Featuring music from Elliott Smith, direction by Gus Van Sant and both Casey and Ben Affleck in supporting roles, the cast and crew certainly have a lot to offer in terms of talent, and the film itself acts as a truly consoling work. Most of you are probably well aware of this one, but it still has its charm, that’s for sure.

 

5. How Green was My Valley (John Ford, 1941)

How Green Was My Valley (1941)

Whilst John Ford is likely known more among film fans s a director of westerns, and admittedly he does make some of the greatest, it’s actually in his dramatic work that his versatility really shows, pulling back from the beautiful landscapes and fun cowboy characters and working on a series of family dramas, including How Green Was My Valley (which won the best picture award from Citizen Kane at the time!), The Quiet Man and the even more overlooked The Long Gray Line (maybe the best of the bunch, but it’s hard to say – seek this one out if you can!).

How Green Was My Valley also focuses on a family, through the lens of Huw Morgan, the youngest child, as the Morgan family try to provide the best life possible for their children in a mining town.

The heart of the film comes in the overall atmosphere, that of a sentimental, nostalgic, homely nature that will remind almost anyone of growing up in the best of ways, and also in the small moments, like how Huw’s family offer to help him with school when he comes back from the first day having been attacked, and his later triumph over the same group, as well as the gorgeous cinematography (another trademark of Ford’s dramas, something he carried over brilliantly from his westerns).

It’s one of the most beautiful films of all time, both in spirit and in the image itself, and it’s one that absolutely everybody should see – it won over Citizen Kane for a reason.

10 Great Movies To Watch If You Want Something Interesting

Maybe you are tired of the mainstream cinema bandwagon and aren’t inclined to spend your time watching a profound film that spans several hours. In that case, this list is tailor-made for you, where each entry encompasses several interesting traits and philosophies and the run times are modest.

These are genre-bending films that blend important and stimulating scenarios in their plots that grapple the audience’s attention throughout the run time and further after the film is finished. They are the brave and daring saplings of cinema that need an ovation.

 

1. Zardoz

“Zardoz”is associated with the stuff of legend. After all, it is most well known for having Sean Connery as the lead protagonist with the very recognizable image of him in a red tankini costume.

This film is full of oddities, eccentricities, and weird plot points. But apart from all these virtues, or vices as you believe them to be, this is one of the most prophetic films from the 1970s that critically commented on social, moral, and political issues, in the form of a satire that we are witnessing in this decade. Don’t mistake this film’s oddities as weaknesses; most of the time, these oddities are highly controlled and targeted toward the audience to create awkward humor.

After the failure to green-light the passion project “The Lord of the Rings,” “Deliverance” director John Boorman decided to make a fantasy world of his own, and “Zardoz” is the result of this decision.

Masquerading as a weird sci-fi film, “Zardoz” comments on the omnipresent social division of our world; the warmongering of religions; the power and loopholes of democracy; the fakeness inherent in an ideal form of a deity, and even predicted artificial intelligence in the form of the film’s “Tabernacle.”

It also alerted us to the problems of immortality, although this instrument has yet not seen the light of discovery. The fantastical world of “Vortex” divides the higher beings of immortality from fellow mortal brutals. A stone head deity named Zardoz maintains the stability in these two worlds by instructing its paid followers to kill the brutals in the name of religion, but problems soon arise in this ideal world.

If all of the aforementioned qualities don’t attract you, watch out for a young Charlotte Rampling as Consuella, Sean Connery’s Zed’s objector who ultimately falls for him in the end, and the great use of  Beethoven’s seventh symphony in a very climactic finale.

 

2. Upstream Color

UpstreamColor

“Primer” was not for everyone. Yes, the talk is about Shane Carruth’s debut film, which polarised and perplexed audiences like none before. Tagged as one of the rare hard sci-fi films, ex-mathematician Carruth made “Primer” with all brain and logic, but took a different route in his arguably more accomplished follow-up film “Upstream Color.” While “Primer” needed dedication and intelligence from the audience to untangle its hidden magic, “Upstream Color” need a rarer trait to appreciate the film’s beauty: meditation.

“Upstream Color” is a hypnotic film filled with Tarkovskian images where Carruth uncovers his selected philosophies of life. It is very much a philosophical film that tries to analyze the logic behind psychological conditions such as fear, confusion, and more prominently, love. Submit to the films hypnosis, just like the protagonist of the film gets hypnotized by a thief and an anonymous sampler using infrasonic, and you will be rewarded.

Unknowingly, they are also affected in their lives by a parasite’s changing life cycle that describes our helpless state, which comes with the inability to fully comprehend the major factors that play in our life’s decisions. A very intimate yet transcending film, “Upstream Color” will overwhelm the viewer with its sheer beauty, ambition, and worldview.

 

3. The Game

The_Game

“The Game” is probably David Fincher’s most unseen and unappreciated film, though not decidedly to film lovers. It is also one of his most polarising films, especially regarding the unexpected revelation at the climax. Steer clear of the following discussions surrounding this film if you haven’t yet managed to see it, as it is difficult to discuss it without delving into spoiler territory. But make sure to watch it as soon as possible, because it is a really interesting film.

Nicholas Van Orton is having difficulties in coping with life after being distanced from his brother and spouse. On his 48th birthday, he finds a surprise birthday gift from his brother: a voucher to enter a game developed by Consumer Recreation Services. He tries to enter the game, but after an initial suspicion he abandons the plan. But in doing so, he fell into a trap streamlined by another scammer of that same company, who introduced herself as a victim of that company. Nicholas soon finds himself penniless in an unknown country and only escapes after selling his gold watch.

When he confronts the truth that it was all a hoax to infiltrate him from the growing frustration of life, he tries to committ suicide by jumping off a roof, just like his father did on his 48th birthday. Nicholas then finds himself in a ballroom full of friends who embrace him into a new life.

The most common criticism of this film is that the finale is widely unrealistic, but it needs a real evaluation. This is no longer the ‘90s; we live in a world where conspiracy theories are not mere gimmicks, as many coveted operations have proved themselves to be true after investigations. A corporation like the one portrayed in “The Game” is not as uncommon in the age of nanotechnology, and in the most probable scenario, it exists in an underground fashion.

 

4. The Man from Earth

Science always says that possibilities are infinite; a day may even come when all the prevailing scientific truths could be abandoned in a single swipe. In that regard, “The Man from Earth,” adapted from a Jerome Bixby script written on his deathbed, may be regarded as one of the finest sci-fi films.

Except that “The Man from Earth” defies genre categorization. This film creates a plot around a hypothesis that protagonist John Oldman is an immortal, and this truth is tried and tested in the film’s run time to reveal a final truth.

John Oldman is a university professor who, on his departing day, invites all his close acquaintances to his home, and through random chatter, he accidentally reveals that he is a Cro-Magnan human. But all of his friends come from accomplished pillars of life who would not easily accept this as truth. The circle is made of biologists, archaeologists, anthropologists, historians, and art professors who one by one question and examine the truth through the hypothesis procedure.

When this uncomfortable truth creates chaos in the room, John admits it was a hoax to comfort his friends, but a later suggestion reveals that it was, in fact, a truth. “The Man from Earth” is a fantastic exploration into the possibility of the human life in the form of a chamber drama that warrants great fame, which unfortunately it never received.

 

5. The Skin I Live In

The Skin I Live In

Can you name the secret ingredient that is responsible for the different sexual identities present in our society? Impossible, the answer states. Although there is a middle ground that is the same in all of the sexual identities, the dominant personality traits and associated feelings are so distinct that they differ from any reverse engineering. At the very least, biology has not progressed to that level to reciprocate and reproduce individual feelings in a new body.

Pedro Almodovar’s hero, the brilliant plastic surgeon Robert Ledgard, tries to do that and failed epically. After his wife’s accidental demise, their one and only daughter Norma grows mentally captive, as Robert’s life is circled around her. When Norma is raped in a frightful accident, Robert tracks down the boy and tries to change his sexual identity as a punishment.

When Norma commits suicides because of the trauma from her rape, Robert embraces the now changed young man or woman as his last hope, whom he modeled after his dead wife. After a while, Vera, who is changed from Vicente, submits to Robert’s love and passion, but the question lingers on her actual intention. Much like Hitchcock’s “Vertigo,” this film analyzes the themes of deception, obsession, and identity; it is also a classic in its own right.